Archbishop’s kidnappers demand to form Christian militia
Voices of Iraq
who described the abduction of the archbishop as a crime.
“Kidnappers demanded to form a Christian militia to take part in the battle against U.S. forces in Mosul, side by side with the al-Mujahidin and the country that cares about the safety of Christians in Iraq should supply the kidnappers with weapons,” the source told Voices of Iraq (VOI) on condition of anonymity.
“The kidnappers said these demands will be announced by Raho himself on a tape to be aired by the television,” the source clarified.
But the source did not mention the response of Raho’s family to these demands, but said that “the kidnappers called again to say that the archbishop was in a bad health condition, and he needs treatment, before they made their last contact to inform the family that Raho died due to his health condition, and that they (the kidnappers) buried him in Al-Intisar neighborhood, north of Mosul city.”
Earlier on Friday, Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barazani said on Friday that the assassination of Archbishop Bulus Faraj Raho of Chaldean Catholics in Mosul was an assault on all religious groups in the city.
"We vehemently denounce the assassination of the Archbishop of Chaldean Catholics in Mosul," Barazani was quoted in a cable by the Iraqi Kurdistan presidential cabinet on Friday.
Security authorities found the prelate's body in al-Intisar neighborhood in northern Mosul, a couple of weeks after he was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen.
Unidentified gunmen had intercepted the clergyman's vehicle on February 29 right after he departed a church in al-Nour neighborhood in Mosul. The gunmen opened fire at the vehicle, killing Raho's driver and two escorts and leading the Raho to an unknown place.
The assassination of the clergyman drew angry reactions in Iraq's official and popular circles. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as other politicians and figures condemned the killing.
Mosul, the capital of Ninewa province, lies 405 km of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
The Chaldean Christians, (also known as Chaldean Assyrians, Chaldo-Assyrians, Assyro-Chaldeans, and sometimes, Keldani in neo-Aramaic), are adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church and form a subset of the Assyrian people.
When the Chaldean Catholic Church was established, its first patriarch was proclaimed patriarch of "Mosul and Athur" (Nineveh and Assyria) on Feb. 20, 1553 by Pope Julius III.